Sunday 25 February 2018

This is why Philippe Coutinho was kneeling down behind the Liverpool wall today

Mark Critchley

Philippe Coutinho raised many an eyebrow during the first half of Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday tea-time.

The Brazilian playmaker is usually noted for his technical, dynamic attacking play, but it was a piece of ingenious defending that caught the eye on this occasion.

Coutinho was spotted kneeling behind Liverpool’s wall as the hosts defended a Christian Eriksen free-kick, out of the taker’s sight, in the 34th minute of play with his own side 2-0 up.

The 24-year-old crouched down and held one leg outstretched, covering as much ground as possible, in order to block any attempt by Eriksen to go underneath the Liverpool wall.

Commentators and social media users alike remarked that they had never seen such a tactic employed before, but Coutinho may have taken inspiration from an international team-mate.

The same trick was used by Marcelo, the Real Madrid full-back, during Brazil’s 3-0 friendly win over Argentina last November – a game in which Coutinho played.

Marcelo was spotted kneeling behind the wall as Lionel Messi lined up a free-kick in the first half of Argentina’s victory.

Nor was it Marcelo’s invention, though. The trick is seen semi-regularly in Brazilian football, with one of memorable attempt coming from Ponte Preta in a 2014 Copa do Brasil clash against Parana.

Although Lucio Flavio, Parana’s free-kick taker, was discouraged from shooting low by a Ponte Preta player who lay prone behind the defensive wall, he instead curled an effort into the top corner.

Independent News Service

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